We awoke our first morning as husband and wife to fresh pressed orange juice, warm sunbeams, and heart shaped waffles on the porch of our B & B cottage in Virginia. With giddy anticipation we set off for the airport to begin out expertly planned, two-week adventure in the beautiful state of Arizona. We had booked places all across the state, from a family cabin in the woods to a tiny house in the city. Our family and friends had our back, fully funding our $3,000 honeymoon adventure.
We awoke our second morning as husband and wife to bright, industrial overhead lights and shockingly unattractive carpet imprints on our cheeks. The last 18 hours had included two cancelled flights (the latter after sitting on the runway during a 2-hour thunderstorm), the troubling realization that we would likely have to spend the night in DC, and then desperately bargaining our way onto a redeye to San Francisco. We landed around 1am, and settled in for a looming 6+ hour layover in the airport. Any attempt at sleep was harshly interrupted by the intercom lady, reminding us every 15 minutes (loudly) that unmanned bags would be seen as a threat, and immediately destroyed.
Note for couples: Find ways to laugh at the unexpected, the unplanned, and the unflattering.
So after the sun rose over the runway (and Everett finished geeking out over the multi step recycling process in the San Francisco airport) we boarded a plane for Phoenix (finally!). Now our two weeks in Arizona (from June 8 to 22) could begin. Our first stop was the Brubaker family cabin, nestled among the towering ponderosa pines of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. After the whirlwind of graduation, wedding planning, wedding day, and a night on the airport floor, a getaway to the cabin was everything we needed and more.
Note for couples: Don’t plan too much adventure into your first few days. The afternoons full of fishing, long naps, and good books were adventure enough.
The second leg of our journey wound us through the mystery and wonder of the Petrified Forest National Park, ending the day in a hotel in Flagstaff. Journeying north, we arrived at a tiny cabin on the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We hiked small trails that took us out over the canyon and stargazed on the terrace at the lodge. The trek to the north rim was worth it alone for the amazing breakfast served overlooking the Canyon the next morning.
Note for couples: Pull the honeymoon card. Just like your friends and family back home, people want to support you and share in your excitement. It’s not an excuse for entitlement, but it may score you some sweet deals, a discount or two, or an extra treat at breakfast.
Now halfway through our adventure, we drove our small rental car south, through Indian Reservations and red rock canyons. We ended up in Sedona, Arizona at an amazing Airbnb house, complete with hot tub and a huge kitchen. While in Sedona we took full advantage of all the water-related activities, providing relief from the hot desert sun, as well as some hiking trails and local shops.
Unfortunately, we were abruptly met with the realization that while we were indeed married, our prefrontal cortexes were a few years shy of complete development. Everett miscalculated a dive into a nearby stream and Kelsey found herself frantically map-questing the nearest Emergicare. With some pain meds and patch work, all was well, and we enjoyed prickly pear fries and guacamole prepared table side that evening.
Note for couples: Have grace for yourselves. And perhaps on your Traveler’s Joy registry, add an ‘in case of emergency’ option. Just in case. =)
After a good couple days in Sedona we headed back towards Phoenix. Our last two nights were vastly different, but each incredibly rewarding. Everett surprised Kelsey with an Air B&B stay in a little casita getaway with an infinite pool overlooking the stunning Scottsdale desert. We grilled chicken and asparagus and stayed up all night trying to beat Lego Star Wars on the Wii (we’re real gamers).
The next day, we pulled into the driveway of a couple offering up their 140 square foot tiny house for the night: Complete with bright turquoise walls and a composting toilet. The hosts invited us inside their home for ice cream, and as we played with their adorable children, we soon realized we had graduated from the same small university in Virginia and had many common friends. Small world!
Note for couples: Mix it up! Try new things! Staying in unique places every few nights was one of the highlights of our trip!
After two incredible weeks we enjoyed a much-appreciated, uneventful flight home. Our friends and family, through Travelers Joy, provided us with an incredible honeymoon. Better than any toaster, napkin set, or microwave. Traveler’s Joy allowed us to build a honeymoon that reflected the two of us. We enjoyed some pampering and some roughing it. We ate out at incredible restaurants, and had a blast cooking our own meals. We hiked some incredible trails, and enjoyed a few afternoons just watching TV. We spent time with new friends, and had some wonderful moments just the two of us.
Arizona is an incredible state, with a vast diversity of activities, ecosystems, and people. Within a day’s drive you can stumble upon ancient saguaros, desert ruins, mountain forests, and crystal clear water. The sky is big and blue and the sunsets unmatched. We still talk about our honeymoon almost a year later, and continue to share Traveler’s Joy with all the soon to be married couples we know.
Note to couples: Dream up your honeymoon, invite the support of your family and friends, and let Traveler’s Joy help you create an unforgettable adventure!